Indy Budget: 45% Cut in Racing's Slots Share

The proposed Indiana budget bill calls for a major reduction in revenue for racing.

The proposed Indiana budget bill includes a line item that would almost cut in half the amount horse racing receives from racetrack slot machines.

Currently, the industry gets all of the 15% of adjusted gross revenue from slots at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and Indiana Downs. The budget bill offered by Gov. Mitch Daniels would reduce that amount and shift 43% of the industry’s revenue to the state’s general fund.

Industry representatives said Jan. 13 total impact to horse racing—Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and Quarter Horse—would be a loss of about $21 million. Percentage-wise Quarter Horse racing and breed development would take the biggest hit; rather than getting 8% of revenue, it would receive 3.2%.

Thoroughbred industry projections suggest purses at Hoosier Park would drop $3.37 million, while purses at Indiana Downs would fall $2.18 million. Annual breed development funds would drop $2.08 million at Hoosier Park and $1.26 million at Indiana Downs.

According to The Jockey Club Information Systems, Hoosier Park paid $15.18 million--$6.85 million for restricted races—in Thoroughbred purses in 2010. Indiana Downs paid $12.02 million in purses, $4.01 million for restricted races. The tracks raced a combined 123 Thoroughbred dates.

Because Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing get an equal share of slots revenue, the harness industry would suffer similar reductions. Both tracks offer harness meets and some Quarter Horse racing each year.

Funding for horsemen’s groups and related programs also would be reduced under the budget bill.

Officials said the budget bill is expected to be altered as negotiations continue through April, and various horse industry representatives are expected to lobby to maintain their share of slots revenue.